From extreme sports to wheelchair fencing (or rugby or tennis), there’s a team sport for those with disabilities. Most have been modified specifically for those with disabilities, including quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and many others. Adaptive equipment helps make playing possible.
Excellent programs are offered through your local park district, YMCA, YWCA or community center. Search online for “adapted sports,” “handicapped sports” or “sports + disability.”
We list a few here, but for more, visit National Center on Physical Activity and Disability at www.ncpad.org or National Sports Center for the Disabled at www.nscd.org. For a directory of sports organizations for athletes with disabilities, visit www.ilru.org and search “sports.”
Basketball: The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) consists of men’s, women’s, intercollegiate and youth teams throughout the country. Visit http://www.nwba.org. Visit the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association at http://www.cwba.ca.
Adapted versions of basketball include a lowered basket and even a Japanese version with two baskets at different heights.
Boccia is played either indoors or outside and is similar to the Italian game of lawn bowling. Unlike many other sports, boccia is co-ed. Rules allow the use of a ramp to help throw the balls, so that people with very serious disabilities can take an equal part in competitive play. Boccia is now a major international and Paralympic sport.
Quad Rugby, created in Canada in 1979 as murder ball, is a cross between wheelchair basketball and ice hockey. Visit the U.S. Quad Rugby Association at www.quadrugby.com.
Power Soccer is for those who use power wheelchairs. The object is to push the ball over the opponent’s goal line. The game is similar in concept to quad rugby. Visit www.powersoccerusa.net. Power soccer will be demonstrated at all six Abilities Expo 2011 (www.abilitiesexpo.com).
Many team sports for those with disabilities are now international and Paralympic sports. Visit the International Paralympic Committee at www.paralympic.org.
Get out and have fun! Participate with your peers!
This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!